Friday, March 31, 2006


I recently decided that despite what calendars and popular imagination tell us, there are in fact only 2 seasons in New England, not 4.

Salient Characteristics of Season A (as I'm calling it):
Back door = open to yard
Transportation = bicycle
Laundry = dries on clothesline
Typing = without gloves
Walking dog = generally pleasant
Clothing is worn = for self-expression

Salient Characteristics of Season B:
Back door = closed
Doors to room = closed
Curtains = closed
Transportation = bicycle + cursing, bus
Laundry = dries in dryer, dries on clothesline + cursing
Typing = with gloves, hat, fleece, 2 pairs of pants (indoors)
Walking dog = + cursing
Clothing is worn = to approximate bed for the painful hours that one is not asleep

And this is the first week since early October that feels like Season A.

The sun is shining, Beloved Husband is planting millions of vegetables in mini-greenhouses, the dog just learned how to fetch, the worms are contented, and I am happy. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Not grabbing my sawed-off shotgun and heading for the hills . . . yet

But I'm a lot closer to revolutionary anti-taxation wingnuttitude than I was a week ago. The summary:

1) 1 phone call to the IRS
2) 40 minutes with 3 different customer-service reps at H & R Block on Friday. Highlight of the conversation:
Customer Service Dude: Huh. Huh. Huh.
Me: Yes? Can you help?
CSD: Nope. But I've never seen anything like that. Huh.
Me: Do you know of someone I could talk to who could help?
CSD: Huh.

3) 25 minutes with another customer-service rep at H&R Block on Monday
4) 1 email from H & R Block yesterday
5) Another phone call to the IRS this morning
6) Yet another 30 minutes with H&R Block today

Net result: yes, the government really does want to penalize you for contributing to your retirement if you're a married person, filing separately. No really. That's what the IRS said. Penalty, penalty, penalty for getting married and trying to save money -- well, nice to learn what our nation's government is rewarding. Excuse me while I embark on a fury of shoe-shopping and cocaine-snortage to finally get some joy out of my hard-earned, oh wait, I no longer have a job . . . anyway, it's been a rough week.

So, maybe I'll go drop some tea into the Quinnipiac or something. Or just bang my head against my desk . . . over . . . and . . . over . . . again . . .

Friday, March 24, 2006

Hello, world

All right, so, many things have been happening recently. In the life realm, my play went up last week and also closed (4 perfs. and an invited dress) and I'm still adjusting to life without it. I think it's the odd joy of writing for the theater, that you basically spend six months hidden away from human contact, creating these people in your brain, only to get four weeks to spend with actual human beings making it all possible. And now I'm back to the solitary part again, and I kind of miss (okay, I really miss) the live human beings. I think, though, weirdly, being without them will force me to invest in my imaginary ones.

You know, when I lay it out like this, it always surprises me what I spend my days doing.

I also, thanks to the play, got to see friends and family, albeit too briefly, which always has the nice effect of situating me more firmly in the world. Like saying "Here is my apartment" and "this is where we go to get pizza" causes my apartment and pizza place to come more into being. I blame this, of course, on J. L. Austin.

And, in public intellectual news (because, really, if not to paste things on one's cat, why does one have a blog but to be a public intellectual?) here's an article recently of note: the fairly thorough and rather snarky profile of Caitlin Flanagan in Elle. Now, you'll all have to take my word on this because I merely ranted these thoughts aloud to Beloved Husband instead of posting them in searchable permanence on the internet, but I totally said all this stuff like a year ago. Well, maybe without the interview-based anecdotes. But everything else. Really. Actually, the interview stuff is the most surprising to me -- how she comes across in this article and in her New Yorker pieces as . . . passive-aggressive and wussy. And, frankly, even when I was throwing my Atlantic across the room screaming, "'Had no career ambitions other than motherhood' my ass! You have a Master's Degree!" I appreciated the fact that she didn't pull punches. That she fought, dare I say it, like a man, being direct and aggresssive, and, yes, sometimes wrong, but also -- Social Security for nannies -- sometimes right. Here she cops the "ooooh, I love my babies so much I couldn't stand to be apart from them but who am I to judge another woman, p.s. I am toally judging you" crap that we should all be utterly sick of by now. Finally, I feel like it just bears saying that, okay, Caitlin, you made your name with the controversial pronouncement that "When a mother works, something is lost." However, I gotta say having lived through the working-mother thing, I'm pretty sure that when a mother stays home with the sons she's self-described obsessed with, employing a nanny, a personal assistant, and a maid in order to tell the world how much she loves sacrificing for her family, something is also lost. Namely, those two kids' shot at growing up to be themselves.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Done is the next best thing to good

I finally finished my skirt yesterday! I've been working on it intermittently since January, and (as BH can testify) there were several close calls in which I swore like a sailor with gangrene in his peg leg and threatened to throw the machine out our first floor window. But, in a burst of work-avoiding productivity, I actually finished the darn thing yesterday, and, as soon as we can afford a digital camera, I may even post a picture.

For the last couple weeks, I've been storing the sewing machine in the costume shop at school, where the very nice costume ladies have been helping me when asked, but largely staying out of my hair, which I appreciated because this really is the first thing I've ever sewn by myself. Like getting two pieces of fabric to attach in a straight line was a mammothly big step here. And so, when, after slaving for weeks over my basic, basic, easy skirt, I finally finished, the head costume dude walks in. And starts inspecting my (hideous, deformed) seams. He is aghast. He reaches for a seam ripper. "But if you had only tucked under the edge, then this wouldn't fray . . . how about we just rip this out and --" "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" I reply. I am done. I need to just wear this skirt, even if evaporates into thread after the first outing, even if it's uneven and raggedy and see-thru (don't worry, I do own a half-slip, Mom).

Next time, I can properly measure things and tuck the edges under.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Oh the dog


So the dog decided to start destroying things when left at home alone. This, after having been very well behaved when solo until about 3 days ago. So he destroyed the gardenia we were nurturing through the winter. And he got into the garbage, eating, we suspect moldy cheese or some other unpleasant foodstuff, requiring BH to get up every hour, on the hour, last night to let the dog relieve himself. His gut seems finally to have calmed down, but still. It was a heck of a night. I don't know what we're going to do the next time we leave the house. And mostly, I don't know WHY. You've been fine for months, dog. Why now? There wasn't even anything GOOD in the garbage. We just got you neutered, which, according to everything I've read, is supposed to make you BETTER behaved and CALMER.

The Mercedes is starting to look pretty good right now.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Divine Secret Senses of the Evensong Hunger Moon who's Good in Bed

I don't know what to read.

I mean, I realize this sounds like a stupid complaint because clearly I am in writing school and one of the quirks of writing school is that they also make you read a lot, but the net result is that when, such as now, I actually have time to read things other than plays assigned for class, I don't know what to read.

It's Spring Break, and, although I'm staying home in chilly New England, to celebrate the breakiness of it, I figured I should read "something fun" and turned, as I sometimes do, to the genre known as "women's literary fiction."

Now, just in case all you read is Proust, I should explain that "women's literary fiction" is a distinct genre from "chick lit." Chick lit books feature educated young women with glamorous but frustrating jobs in big cities who date a score of amusingly dreadful men before noticing the cute, smart, wealthy guy with the great career who's been there all along. You know, that guy. Chick lit books end with weddings and shoe shopping, not necessarily in that order.

Women's literary fiction, however, is about an older, more conflict-ridden woman, who has been burned in love and family and finds herself at some sort of crossroads. She is helped by a kind gay/ black/ Chinese/ elderly person/ troubled teenager with experience and perspective who helps the woman sort through her troubled past and embrace with passion her uncertain future. At the end of the book, there is always 1 DEATH (usually the helper person, esp. if they are old or gay, although not necessarily) and 1 BIRTH (always following the accidental/ miraculous impregnation of the troubled woman who either was not interested in reproduction or thought herself to be infertile).

Now, look. I like being uplifted as much as the next girl. Truly. I unironically cried at "Titanic." And, after six months of Aeschylus and Chekhov, I keep thinking that I want to crawl in bed with Jennifer Weiner et al. I started reading this kind of book as escapism a few years ago, and I figured, it's time to escape again. So, this past Sunday, I did virtually nothing other than read National Book Award winner (!) Three Junes by Julia Glass. And there's the 35-year old woman. And the life-affirming dead gay guy. And the accidental pregnancy.

People, please. Get it together. Write something different! Isn't there something out there between Dostoyevsky and US Magazine? I don't want to spend my Spring Break reading post-Oscar bitchiness on Defamer. Or, to amend, I don't want to spend my Spring Break only reading post-Oscar bitchiness on Defamer.


This is where, Beloved Husband butts in and says, "Hey, if you're going to writing school, why don't you take some time and, ya know, write?" And that's why, Dear Reader, I married him.